Author: Mohua Maulik | Genre: Short Stories | Pages: 264 | Publisher: Buuks
Breaking Free: A Novella & Other Stories is a collection of forty micro-fiction and short stories, portraying different aspects of life crafted from everyday happenings. Breaking Free dives into the depths of a patriarchal society that turns a blind eye to sexism that is all pervasive. A disillusioned and embittered protagonist meets a determined suitor. Can he accept her reality? Can she break free and come into her own?
Vacations are on everyone’s bucket list but they often don’t turn out quite as one expects. This theme is explored in a few shorts – Holidays! The Perfect Getaway, The Last Fling and The Vacation. Other shorts – The Murderer, Yesterday Once More, Of Men and Monsters, Brothers in Arms – explore the theme of love and betrayal, be it lovers, parents or siblings. My Prickly Pear is the story of a mother’s tussle between her children and her dreams. Now that they are grown up, can she fly the nest? The Scent of Love is an office romance between an unlikely pair, the quintessential office babu, Dayaram, and the soon-to-be married Bela. Unversed in matters of the heart, he watches in helpless despair as her marriage is fixed. Will Bela be able to shake him out of his stupor or will he let her go? These stories, on characters that are drawn from life, will make you gasp, warm your heart or just make you laugh out loud.
Breaking Free: A Novella & Other Stories came as a sweet surprise because I didn’t expect it to be so impactful, right from the word go. Having read ample number of short stories and my staunch love for them hardly have me going for modern works of short-story writing, because they fail terribly, at invoking anything within the reader. But the stories in Breaking Free pulled me in and had me turning pages before I knew. One, because the stories are flash fiction. Two, because the crisp tales in here are power-packed and determined to shift your mindset from the stereotypical to the more rational. These stories tug at your heart with the platter of emotions they serve, and just how!
All the tales highlight real-life conundrums, societal taboos, inner struggles, desperate attempts at freedom, and many such facets that change individuals when in the grasp of them. The author’s attempt at bringing to life that which seems wiped out from our modern societies still dwells predominantly, under the many layers of the human conscience, like the drapes of a saree, and comes to the fore challenging dreams, ambitions, courage and patience, every now and then. These are so mainstream that relating to the situations is not only promised, but also transforming. The fictionalized realities are introspective in nature, and all the tales have a very strong voice and way of doing it.
One story that stayed with me was: The Murderer, in which a woman is dead, and the family reveals the real murderer; who failed to accept the woman’s plight. It is one of the most hard-hitting facts; one that is so easily ignored in our society, and highlights how women are expected to live so as to honour the family name.
Written in a captivating style that offers the reader a crisp and thought-provoking prose, I felt this is a commendable piece of work to explore; something that doesn’t demand too much time or reading energy, and yet keeps you hooked and moved. Read Breaking Free: A Novella & Other Stories by Author Mohua Maulik to experience a fresh, modern-day wave of contemporary story-telling. Followers of Terribly Tiny Tales will love this collection!
Have you read ‘Breaking Free: A Novella & Other Stories’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
P.S: I received a review copy from the author but the review remains unbiased.
Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!